Incident date
12 February 2021
Locations affected
Foster Creek, Korumburra, South Gippsland

Advice for the Korumburra community and surrounds

There is a wastewater issue in Korumburra at South Gippsland Water’s wastewater treatment plant. The plant exceeded its processing capacity and began discharging partially treated wastewater to Foster Creek above the limit set by its licence.

EPA Authorised Officers have confirmed the discharge to Foster Creek ceased at 7:30 am on 17 February 2021. Anyone near the treatment plant may continue to notice elevated odour levels.

To protect your health, avoid all contact with the water in Foster Creek and other potentially affected waterways until the issue is fixed:

  • Do not drink the water.
  • Do not fish from the water or consume any fish or animals caught in the water.
  • Do not use the water for any domestic use such as washing, showering, bathing or preparing food.
  • Do not use the water for any recreational use including filling backyard swimming pools.
  • Do not use the water for watering food crops, lawns, and plants.
  • Do not use the water for watering stock or pets.
  • Do not use the water as washdown water for machinery.
  • Do not use the water for irrigation and fodder. Controls must be in place to make sure livestock are not exposed to pasture or fodder contaminated by sewage.

Stay informed

For the latest updates and progress, visit South Gippsland Water's website or call their hotline on 1300 851 636.

We encourage you to contact us to report any fish deaths or other impacts to Foster Creek downstream of Korumburra.

EPA's role at the site

In January 2021, South Gippsland Water (SGW) alerted Environment Protection Authority (EPA) of the issue in accordance with their licence. EPA officers have inspected the site and affected areas. Over the coming weeks, EPA will continue to monitor SGW's compliance with their licence as well as any potential impacts to Foster Creek.

We are assisting SGW's management of this incident. We are also providing technical advice on risks and emergency approvals to partner agencies. Partner agencies include Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) and Agriculture Victoria.

Compliance and enforcement

EPA served a notice on South Gippsland Water (SGW). The notice requires that, unless treated water is compliant with its licence limitations, SGW must stop discharging from its Korumburra treatment plant into Foster Creek. EPA will remove the notice when the plant is running in line with its licence conditions.

EPA expects SGW to continue to communicate and engage with Foster Creek water users until all discharges return to compliant levels.

EPA continues to monitor wastewater at SGW's Korumburra treatment plant and Foster Creek. We are investigating any breaches of the law and will take further action in line with our Compliance and Enforcement Policy (publication 1798).

Environmental monitoring

Wastewater is showing high levels of ammonia and phosphorus, which adversely affects the plant’s ability to treat wastewater. The SGW plant receives up to 1.3 megalitres of wastewater per day. It is comprised of domestic sewage, and trade waste from commercial and industrial customers.

EPA is continuing to monitor water quality and odour levels in the affected area.

Reviewed 19 February 2021